The Cost of Living by Rachel Ward #review @sandstonepress @rachelwardbooks

The Cost of Living (Ant & Bea Mystery) by [Ward, Rachel]

The Cost of Living is a gentle mystery featuring unlikely heroes, Ant and Bea, who both work in a supermarket in the small town of Kingsleigh. There is a fear round the town that there is a stalker targeting young women and when someone is attacked, everyone’s fears seem to have come true. Bea is a check-out operator at Costsave, a bright young woman who I certainly felt had lots of potential to go far whether in her current occupation or elsewhere. Ant, on the face of things, seems less likely to be successful having always been in trouble at school and struggling to cope with what appear to be straightforward tasks in the supermarket. He’s a bit mouthy but trying hard to cover up a secret he’d rather not reveal. Bea knew Ant at school and didn’t think much of him then. She’s a bit sceptical that he’ll stick his job at the supermarket.

What links them both though is a sense of integrity and a desire to do right by the girl who had been attacked, a colleague well known to them. Although not really setting out to play detective, they come across clues and come up with ideas of who might be responsible for the crime. The word bumbling certainly seemed to apply to them at some points but their dogged determination pays off in their quest to find the culprit.

I really enjoyed reading this book. Ant & Bea are very likeable characters, very down to earth and there was a lot which made me smile throughout the book. The darker theme of the crime is woven through the story effectively and is well balanced by lighter moments. It was good to get a bit of insight into Bea’s home-life as well and the difficulties she had with Queenie, her mother. The exploration of how grief affected them both was sensitively done. I also liked Bea’s genuine concern for and interest in her regular customers’ lives.

This is the first book to feature Ant & Bea and I am pleased that there is a second book already available (Dead Stock) – I will definitely be seeking it out. Although seeming to be an unlikely pair, Ant & Bea complement each well, with their underlying kindness, thoughtfulness and basic decency making them a great team.

My thanks to Ceris at Sandstone Press for my copy of the book. The Cost of Living is available now in all formats. You should be able to buy a copy at your usual book retailer or you can order a Kindle copy for only £1.29 (at the time of writing this post): The Cost of Living

From the back of the book

When a young woman is attacked walking home from her local supermarket, Bea Jordan, a smart but unfulfilled checkout girl, is determined to investigate. Colleagues and customers become suspects, secrets are uncovered. While fear stalks the town, Bea finds an unlikely ally in Ant, the seemingly gormless new trainee, but risks losing the people she loves most as death comes close to home. The Cost of Living is a warm, contemporary story with likeable leads, an engaging cast of supporting characters and a dark thread running throughout.

About the author

Rachel Ward

Rachel Ward is a best-selling writer for young adults. Her first book, Numbers, was published in 2009 and shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize. An avid reader of detective fiction, The Cost of Living is her first book for adults. Rachel lives in Bath with her husband and daughter.

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A Christmas Gift by @SueMoorcroft #TenThings @AvonBooksUK #BlogTour

If you are a regular reader of this blog you will know I am a big fan of Sue Moorcroft’s book. It’s a little too early for me to start reading Christmas books but I couldn’t miss out on the chance to take part in the blogtour for her latest novel, A Christmas Gift. It is published by Avon Books and available in ebook just now – order your copy here – and it will be published in hardback on 1st November. I will, of course, be reviewing the book, probably sometime in November. Today I’m sharing #TenThings that Sue Moorcroft would like her readers to know about her.

#TenThings

 Sue Moorcroft

I write two books a year for Avon: one for Christmas and one for summer. It’s a lot of writing but it’s great to have the publication day excitement twice a year – or three times a year, really, as the Christmas ebook comes out a month before print, so we celebrate twice.

 

A Christmas Gift is my first ‘proper’ hardback! Occasional foreign editions or large print editions have come out in hardback but this is the first time a publisher has offered me a hardback with the paperback to follow. It feels like a promotion!

 

I’m an army kid and was born in Germany near Mönchengladbach at a hospital that had been used for euthanasia by the Nazis during World War II. I’ve lived in Cyprus and Malta as well as the UK. I’ve been based in Northamptonshire, England since the army part of my childhood ended.

 

When my children were at primary school I successfully campaigned to have vandal-proof fencing erected at their school after a teenager walked into the infants’ playground and punched my son in the face. I did not give up, I would not allow myself to be put off, and the fence went up. It’s still there. During this campaign I learned the value of threatening to go to the press.

 

Not giving up has also been useful in my career as a writer as it took roughly twenty years to become an overnight success. Not giving up is considerably easier now my books get published and do well. When my editor at Avon pitched my current contract to my agent she said that the aim was to make me a Sunday Times bestselling author. When I read this I said aloud, ‘Good luck with that!’ But it happened with the very first book of that contract, The Little Village Christmas.

 

I learned one of my life skills, touch-typing, on a secretarial course. At the beginning of the course I discovered that I could have applied to be a cub reporter on the local paper if my school had been one of those approached by the paper. I should have instantly written to the paper and asked to be considered for the following year, but I went into a sulk and joined a bank instead.

 

I love Formula 1. Please do not speak to me whilst I’m watching it.

 

 

Reading is another great joy. I like to read feel-good books and the current preoccupation with dark thrillers has completely passed me by. If I’m asked to read a book with a view to providing a quote I always try to find out whether it will make me sad before I say yes (or no).

 

I love my family. Last year nineteen of us went to Malta together and it was a wonderful week.

 

I won my bronze medal for swimming when I was five. When you live in a hot country and can swim in the sea every day from April to November it’s possible to become quite good quite quickly. (PS If I’m going to be scrupulously honest, I was almost six.)

 

From the back of the book

Georgine loves Christmas. The festive season always brings the little village of Middledip to life. But since her ex-boyfriend walked out, leaving her with crippling debts, Georgine’s struggled to make ends meet.

To keep her mind off her worries, she throws herself into organising the Christmas show at the local school. And when handsome Joe Blackthorn becomes her assistant, Georgine’s grateful for the help. But there’s something about Joe she can’t quite put her finger on. Could there be more to him than meets the eye?

Georgine’s past is going to catch up with her in ways she never expected. But can the help of friends new and old make this a Christmas to remember after all?

Curl up with the gorgeous new book from the Sunday Times bestseller, perfect for fans of Carole Matthews and Trisha Ashley.

Don’t miss the rest of the tour with these fabulous bloggers

A Christmas Gift Blog Tour - Oct

Lies Between Us by Ronnie Turner #review @HQdigitalUK @ronnie_turner #WhereIsBonnie?

Lies Between Us: a tense psychological thriller with a twist you won’t see coming by [Turner, Ronnie]

It was with great excitement that the blogging community heard a while back now that one of our own, Ronnie Turner, had secured a publishing contract. It is a measure of that excitement that there is a mega blogtour to celebrate publication of the book. But I’m sure that she is on tenterhooks as she knows that virtual friends or not, she will get nothing but honest reviews from her fellow bloggers because that’s what we do!

My goodness, Ronnie Turner has a dark mind!  I have to admit that I found the story a little confusing to begin with, with the three separate storylines taking place at three different time periods. But if you feel the same, I’d say stick with it as once I had my head around who was who, each different part was equally absorbing.

We read about Miller, who has to be one of the nastiest characters I’ve ever read about. He is a seriously disturbed child with a devious mind who seems to take great delight in hurting people. We hear his story in what is almost a diary format over many years, giving a real insight into his thoughts. Then there is John and his pregnant wife Jules whose daughter Bonnie has disappeared and they are having to cope with terrifying photographs and messages from whoever has taken her. And finally, there is Maisie, an ICU nurse caring for Tim who is in a coma following a violent attack. As she supports his wife, Heidi, she suspects that Heidi has something to hide.

Lies Between Us was a lot darker than I normally read but I did find it was a very compelling read. It was creepy and very intense and although some parts were uncomfortable to read, especially about what was happening to the missing child Bonnie, I had to read on to find out what exactly was going on and how the three stories would connect.

The book is very cleverly plotted. I genuinely had no idea for a long time what the connection between the stories would be. I gradually began to guess the connection between Miller and John’s stories but was cunningly misled by the author and definitely did not guess what was coming. And I had no idea where Maisie’s part fitted in until the very end. In every part of the story there were characters who had secrets to hide and who it seemed couldn’t be trusted. Who exactly was telling the lies and what were all these lies? Lies Between Us is a real page turner.

Thanks to the publishers HQ Digital for asking me to take part in the tour and for my copy of the book. Lies Between Us is available now as an ebook and the paperback will follow in December.

You can order a copy from the following places:

Kobo

Google Play

Amazon UK

Itunes

From the back of the book

Will they ever learn the truth?

Three people, leading very different lives, are about to be brought together – with devastating consequences . . .

John has a perfect life, until the day his daughter goes missing.

Maisie cares for her patients, but hides her own traumatic past.

Miller should be an innocent child, but is obsessed with something he can’t have.

They all have something in common, though none of them know it – and the truth won’t stay hidden for long . . .

About the author

Ronnie Turner.

Ronnie Turner grew up in Cornwall, the youngest in a large family. At an early age, she discovered a love of literature and dreamed of being a published author. Ronnie now lives in Dorset with her family and three dogs. In her spare time, she reviews books on her blog and enjoys long walks on the coast. She is currently working on her second novel.

Twitter:@Ronnie_ _Turner
Facebook: @RonnieTurnerAuthor
Instagram: @ronnieturner8702
Website: www.ronnieturner.wordpress.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/RonnieTurner

#LiesBetweenUs  #WhereIsBonnie?

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This is poster 2 of 4 so check out Ronnie’s Twitter each day for the up to date blog stop.

#AuthorIntheSpotlight Shari Low, author of Another Day in Winter @sharilow @aria_fiction

Another Day in Winter: NEW from the No1 Bestselling Author. A perfect winter treat! (A Winter Day Book) by [Low, Shari]

I read and really loved the poignant One Day in December by Shari Low last year (you can read my review here). So I jumped at the chance to read what is the second in the trilogy. Another Day in December. However, it’s a wee bit early for me to read Christmassy books yet so instead I have an Author in the Spotlight feature to share with you. I will be reviewing a little later in the year.

Thanks for joining me today Shari. First of all, would you tell my blog readers a little about yourself?

Hi! I’ve been writing for almost twenty years and Another Day In Winter is my 22nd published novel. That makes me feel really old. Away from the book world, I’m married to a guy I got engaged to after a week and twenty five years later we live with our two teenage sons near Glasgow. They’re both basketball players who are much taller than me, so I spend most of my life looking upwards. 

What inspired you to start writing?

I always wanted to write. As a young teenager, I used to read eighties bonkbusters using the light from my electric blanket and dream that one day I’d be Jackie Collins, live in LA , dress in leopard print and lie by my kidney shaped swimming pool.  Reality got in the way until I was thirty, and having an early mid-life crisis that involved much wailing about the fact that I wanted to be a writer. My husband pointed out that it would help if I actually wrote something. I hate it when he introduces logic to a situation. I hate it even more when he’s right! Over the next month I wrote the first 10 000 words of my first novel.  

Tell me about your journey to publication

I sent that 10000 words off to a few agents and one took me on. She then sent the same 10000 words out to loads of publishers, and thankfully one of them made an offer. I got the phone call to say I had a book deal, and then 20 minutes later I found out I was pregnant after 5 years of trying. My whole world changed within half an hour.

In a nutshell, what is your latest book about?

Last year I released One Day In December, a novel about four people and how their lives intertwined over the course of 24 hours on the Friday before Christmas. Readers loved it and it became a number 1 best seller. I was so thrilled I decided to make it a three part series. This new novel isn’t a sequel, as it stars four completely different characters, but it has the same theme, and looks at one day that completely rewrites their future. This time around, we share the lives of George, Chrissie, Shauna and Tom on a chilly day in December.  Shauna touches down at Glasgow Airport on a quest to find answers from the past. Meanwhile, across town, George knows his time is nearing the end, but is it too late to come to terms with his two greatest regrets? His grandson Tom uncovers a betrayal that rocks his world as he finally tracks down the one that got away. And single mum Chrissie is ready to force her love-life out of hibernation, but can anyone compare to the man who broke her heart?

Sorry – that was a very large nutshell!

How did you come up with the title for your book?

I wanted something that encapsulated the story, yet linked back to One Day In December.  Hopefully it does both.

How do you plan to celebrate publication day?

I still get just as excited as I did with book number one. However, on the day, I’ll no doubt do the same as every other day – work, panic about deadlines and then type my fingers off. However, at night, the house will fill with friends, gin and curry.

Do you have a work in progress just now?

I do. I bring out two books a year, so I’m now in the final stages of the novel that will come out next April.

What’s your favourite book you’ve read in the past few months? Or favourite three if you really can’t choose!

I think it’s probably a tie between Brighton Mermaid by Dorothy Koomson, Blood Feud by Anna Smith and The Lost Children by Theresa Talbot.

The Brighton Mermaid by [Koomson, Dorothy]  Blood Feud: The gritty fast-paced gangster thriller that's got readers gripped! (Kerry Casey Book 1) by [Smith, Anna]  The Lost Children: A gripping crime thriller that will have you hooked! (Oonagh O'Neil) by [Talbot, Theresa]

What are you reading just now? 

Nothing because I’m approaching deadline so it’s just typing, typing, typing…

If you were on Desert Island Discs, what one book would you take with you?

James Clavell’s Tai Pan. It’s my favourite book of all time.

Tai-Pan: The Second Novel of the Asian Saga by [Clavell, James]

Is there a book you’d like to see made into a film? Who would be in your dream cast?

Is it wrong to say my own? I think Another Day In Winter would make a fantastic Christmas movie. I don’t have a dream cast in mind, but I adore Kelly MacDonald, Rose Leslie, Karen Gillan, Isla Fisher and Laura Fraser, so I’d be over the moon to see them in it.  If anyone knows them, please send them this book and I’ll take you to the premiere. I’m not above bribery. 

How can people follow you or connect with you on social media?

Yes please! I’m on twitter @sharilow and I’m on facebook too @sharilowbooks – and I love to hear from readers.

And finally, if you could be a character in any book you have read, who would it be and why?

It would have to be a Jackie Collins heroine – rich, talented, beautiful (sorry, I’m shallow!), ruling her world and of course, wearing leopard print next to that kidney shaped swimming pool in LA.

The Power Trip by [Collins, Jackie]

My thanks to Jess at Aria Fiction for inviting me to be part of the tour and for my copy of the book via Netgalley. Another Day in Winter is available now and you can order from the following places: 

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2w3R9o2
iBooks: https://apple.co/2MuCsV9

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2wlC2oX
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2OZs707

From the back of the book

On a chilly morning in December… Forever friends Shauna and Lulu touch down at Glasgow Airport on a quest to find answers from the past.

George knows his time is nearing the end, but is it too late to come to terms with his two greatest regrets?

His Grandson Tom uncovers a betrayal that rocks his world as he finally tracks down the one that got away.

And single mum Chrissie is ready to force her love-life out of hibernation, but can anyone compare to the man who broke her heart?

After the success of the No1 best seller ONE DAY IN DECEMBER, comes the second unmissable read in Shari Low’s Winter Day trilogy.

About the author

Low_Shari_400pxh

Shari has written seventeen novels under her own name and pseudonyms Ronni Cooper, Millie Conway and Shari King, of which many have been published globally. She writes a weekly opinion column and Book Club page for the Daily Record. Shari lives with her husband and 2 teenage boys in Glasgow.

Follow Shari

Twitter handle: @sharilow

Facebook: @sharilowbooks

Website: http://www.sharilow.com 

 

Follow Aria

Website: www.ariafiction.com

Twitter: @aria_fiction

Facebook: @ariafiction

Instagram: @ariafiction

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The Water and The Wine by Tamar Hodes #review and #extract @HodesTamar @HooklineBooks #lovebooksgrouptours

The Water and the Wine by [Hodes, Tamar]

I’m pleased to be joining the blog tour for The Water and The Wine today. I have an extract for you which features Leonard Cohen and his lover Marianne. First though, a few brief thoughts from me.

The book is about lots of creative people living in an artists’ community on island of Hydra. And by artists I mean painters, writers, musicians etc, people from all areas of the arts. There are lots of characters to get your head around, some based on real people. It did take me a while to feel I knew who was who, especially since who was with who seemed to change one regular basis!

The author has created an evocative picture of the beautiful surroundings, the boats on the sea, the flowers, the wildlife. It seemed a realistic depiction of the Bohemian and hedonistic lifestyle. Freedom for some of the community meant not being bound by rules or responsibilities. But can this kind of lifestyle really work for everyone? With so many egos to appease it seemed not so easy to live and let live.

The Water and The Wine gives an interesting glimpse into what life was like on Hydra at this significant period of time and with this eclectic mix of creative people.

Extract

One time, Leonard fingered the scar on Marianne’s stomach.

‘What’s this?’ First thing, his voice was even more gravelly than usual.

‘When Axel and I were in Athens, I had appendicitis and had to have an emergency operation.’

‘What was that like?’

‘Primitive. The place was very basic and they hung up sheets so that I couldn’t see what was going on. Axel sat by my bedside and typed on little pieces of paper. The first time I was able to go to the bathroom on my own, in the room there were small sheets of paper hanging up to be used and they were Axel’s writing. The nurses had not realised the masterpiece he was writing.’

They both laughed.

‘So I’m sorry, Leonard, but I am not perfect or unblemished.’

Leonard ran his fingers gently across her scar and looked at the sunlight trying to slip its brightness through the shutters. ‘It is only when there is a crack that the light can shine through,’ he said.

Some mornings, he awoke really early to work on his novel and would leave Marianne sleeping. She would awake, turn to look at the dent in the bed where he had lain and stroke that space with her hand. Sometimes he left her signs of love: a poem entitled Breaking the Wish-Bone:

I wanted

you to get

the bigger part

because

I’m so happy

anyway

and underneath a drawing of a chicken wishbone snapped in half and the words Poem for Marianne. Another time, he wrote her a cheque, a real one, and the recipient was Marianne Ihlen and the signature was Leonard Cohen but where the sum of money should have been there was a drawn heart. One another occasion, a silver mirror and a note: you are more beautiful than anyone else so look at your face as often as you can. He also gave her a tortoiseshell comb, mottled, its teeth sharp.

No-one had ever treated her with such love and kindness and her eyes filled with tears at his affection. She could hear him, tapping away at his typewriter and was pleased that he had the fresh gardenia to spur him on.

She would not disturb him when he wrote but wait until later to thank him for his kind gestures.

‘You are everything I desire,’ he would whisper. ‘I have a woman and a table and a typewriter and the sunlight. I wish for nothing more.’

Sometimes Leonard and Marianne would look at themselves in the mirror that hung in the hall and see their reflections: her, blonde, small-breasted, and him dark-haired, slender and think: how could any people be that lucky in love?

But when the light was bad and darkness fell, they searched for their reflections in the flat, black surface and could not find them.

My thanks to Kelly at LoveBooksGroupTours for inviting me to take part in the tour. The Water and The Wine is published by Hookline Books and is available now in paperback and as an ebook. You can order a copy online here: The Water and The Wine

From the back of the book

It is the 1960s and a group of young writers and artists gather on the Greek island of Hydra. Leonard Cohen is at the start of his career and in love with Marianne, who is also muse to her ex-husband, Axel. Australian authors George Johnston and Charmian Clift write, drink and fight. It is a hedonistic time of love, sex and new ideas. As the island hums with excitement, Jack and Frieda Silver join the community, hoping to mend their broken marriage. However, Greece is overtaken by a military junta and the artistic idyll is threatened.

About the author

61QCEs1rXlL._UX250_

Growing up, Tamar Hodes’ neighbours were Leonard Cohen, his girlfriend Marianne, and other writers and artists on the Greek island of Hydra. Her parents took her to the island to pursue their own art and writing. However the bohemian nature of Hydra destroyed their marriage. The Water and the Wine is a fictional account of those days.;Tamar Hodes’ first novel Raffy’s Shapes was published in 2006. She has had stories on Radio 4 and others in anthologies including Salt’s The Best British Short Stories 2015, The Pigeonhole, Your One Phone Call, the Ofi Press, MIR online and Fictive Dream. Tamar was born in Israel and lived in Greece and South Africa before settling in the UK. She read English and Education at Homerton College, Cambridge. For the past thirty-three years she has taught English in schools, universities and prisons.

Don’t miss the rest of the tour

water-wine

Betsy and Lilibet by Sophie Duffy #review @legend_press @sophiestenduffy

Betsy and Lilibet by [Duffy, Sophie]

“Grief is the price we pay for love”

Today’s review is for the wonderful Betsy and Lilibet by Sophie Duffy. I thoroughly enjoyed spending my weekend in the company of Betsy Sunshine. Betsy is an eldest daughter, born into a family of funeral directors who have owned Sunshine And Sons for six generations. She is born the same day as Queen Elizabeth and their lives could not be more different. Although, in some ways, there are many similarities. As Betsy says: 

“I know a bit of what she’s had to do, a bit of what she’s had to live through because both of us got burdened with a job for life. She was the accidental heir to the throne, same way as I was the accidental heir to the business, for I know without a shadow that Dad would have passed the business to a son if there’d been one. She and I have shown that women can do it. We don’t talk about it, we get our hands dirty and we ruddy well do it.”

It is Betsy’s quiet dignity throughout her life which was a real feature of the book for me.  She learns this dignity from her parents and it seemed to me that they were true to life going by funeral directors I have come across, as we all do at sad times in life. She has learned from her parents that “Everyone deserves a good send-off. Every life has some kind of depth, sadness and moments of extraordinary wonder that should be marked and noted.” She makes sure that all her clients are treated with dignity and no-one is judged. “We’re all equal. We come into the world with nothing and we leave with nothing and what we have in between is only borrowed us”.

Betsy and Lilibet is also something of a social history of Britain as we follow Betsy’s life from when she is born in 1926, through the Second World War, the post-War era, the Thatcher’s era, the AIDS epidemic, New Labour, the London Bombings in 2005 and so on.  We also live with her through all the births, marriages and deaths, sorrows, happiness and griefs which accompany every life, and learn of a very significant secret which haunts Betsy for most of her life. Betsy muses that the undertaking industry also reflects history: “There’s so many bodies in London, layer upon layer of them… Men, women, children, babies, pets. Kings, queens, paupers and peasants. You can chart the city’s history through its bodies and burials, its culture, customs, religion and rituals.”

Lilibet, Queen Elizabeth II, is a more minor character in the story although she is an ever-present presence and influence on Betsy. Their lives intersects at three brief but crucial points throughout the story. Apart from that, the references to the Queen are short quotations from her many speeches throughout the years, which often reflect something happening in Betsy’s life at the same time or have some significance to the story.

This is the first book I have read by Sophie Duffy but I’ll certainly be looking out her other novels as she is such a natural storyteller. Her characterisation, particularly in Betsy, is just wonderful and she tells Betsy’s story with great warmth. Betsy and Lilibet is an engaging and immensely enjoyable story.

My thanks to Lucy Chamberlain at Legend Press for my copy of the book and inviting me to take part in the blog tour. Betsy and Lilibet is available now as an ebook and in paperback formats. It should be available from your usual book retailer or you can order a copy online here: Betsy and Lilibet

From the back of the book

London, 1926. Two baby girls are born just hours and miles apart. One you know as the Queen of England, but what of the other girl- the daughter of an undertaker named in her honour? Betsy Sunshine grows up surrounded by death in war-torn London, watching her community grieve for their loved ones whilst dealing with her own teenage troubles… namely her promiscuous sister Margie. As Betsy grows older we see the how the country changes through her eyes, and along the way we discover the birth of a secret that threatens to tear her family apart.

Sophie Duffy dazzles in her latest work of family/historical fiction. A tale which spans generations to explore the life and times of a family at the heart of their community, the story of a stoic young woman who shares a connection with her queenly counterpart in more ways than one…

About the author

Sophie Duffy is the author of The Generation Game (2011), The Holey Life (2012), Bright Stars (2015) and Betsy And Lillibet (2018). Her work has won the Yeovil Literary Prize and the Luke Bitmead Bursary, and has been nominated for the Guardian Not the Booker and the Harry Bowling Prize. She is a writer and creative writing tutor and mentor for CreativeWritingMatters, as well as an administrator for the Exeter Novel Prize and other literary competitions.

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What Happened to Us? by Faith Hogan #review @gerhogan @aria_fiction

What Happened to Us?: A feelgood story of love, loss and new beginnings... by [Hogan, Faith]

I am a big fan of Faith Hogan’s writing having read and really enjoyed all her previous books. Despite the wintry looking cover this isn’t a Christmas book as such, although some of the book does take place around Christmas time. I think it’s a book you can read and enjoy at any time of the year.

When Kevin reveals he has been having an affair with a beautiful Colombian woman, Valentina, Carrie can’t help but wonder ‘What Happened To Us?‘. The book follows them in the months following their split and, unusually I think, includes the points of view of both main characters. As the joint owners of a successful Dublin restaurant, The Sea Pear, the two had to work together closely which must be a difficult thing when a relationship has broken down.

Kevin seems to have been the archetypal fool blinded by the beauty and attentions of a younger woman. He was also blind to what a good woman he had had in Carrie. Even though all his friends were quite shocked and tried to share their concerns about his new relationship, he seemed blinkered to any of Valentina’s faults. As the cracks began to show in their relationship, he still didn’t want to admit to his foolishness. It really was hard to feel sorry for him at all.

Carrie is not however the archetypal woman scorned. After her initial devastation and shock at Kevin’s betrayal, she soon realises that actually, the love had fizzled out of their marriage a long time before their split. Much to Kevin’s surprise she begins to create new opportunities for herself and I was cheering her every step of  the way.

I was getting a bit concerned towards the end as to exactly how the story would resolve but I’m pleased to say that it left me with a smile on my face. I had even started to feel a bit sympathy for Kevin after all!

With Faith Hogan’s trademark exploration of her characters’ emotions, What Happened To Us is a gentle and quietly absorbing story of second chances and new beginnings.

My thanks to  Jess at Aria Fiction for inviting me to take part in the blogtour and for my copy of the book via Netgalley. What Happened to Us? is available now as an ebook from the following retailers:

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2Pv3cCJ
iBooks: https://apple.co/2BBjSpp

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2o3aMrV
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2OHDsSO

 

From the back of the book

Carrie Nolan is devastated when she is dumped by Kevin Mulvey after more than a decade without even a backwards glance! On reflection, she has sacrificed her own long term happiness establishing their critically acclaimed Dublin restaurant and pandering to his excessive ego.

Meanwhile Kevin can’t believe his luck. Valentina, their new waitress is a stunner, the kind of girl that turns heads when she walks in a room and surprise, surprise she has chosen him! He is living the dream!

Carrie seeks solace from a circle of mismatched friends who need her as much as she needs them. Jane, who struggles to run the pub on the opposite side of the street, Luke, who has stopped drifting while his father settles in a nearby nursing home and Teddy, a dog who asks for nothing more than the chance to stay by Carrie’s side.

With Christmas just around the corner, all is not quite as it seems and a catastrophic sequence of events leads to the unthinkable…

How far do you need to fall before you learn the true value of family and friends? And is it ever too late to start again…

 

About the author

Faith Hogan portrait for inside cover of her book

Faith was born in Ireland and currently lives there with her husband, four children and two fussy cats. She gained an Honors Degree in English Literature and Psychology from Dublin City University and a Postgraduate from University College, Galway. She was a winner in the 2014 Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair- an international competition for emerging writers. When she’s not writing, she’s an enthusiastic dog walker and reluctant jogger.

Follow Faith

Twitter: @gerhogan

Facebook: @faithhoganauthor

Follow Aria

Website: www.ariafiction.com

Twitter: @aria_fiction

Facebook: @ariafiction

Instagram: @ariafiction

 

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